Mississippi Books and Writers

April 1996

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Ghosts of Mississippi: The Murder of Medgar Evers, the Trials of Byron De LA Beckwith, and the Haunting of the New South

Nonfiction by Maryanne Vollers

Little, Brown & Co. ($13.95, ISBN: 0316914711)

Publication date: April 1996


In February 1994, a Mississippi jury finally convicted white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Now, in Ghosts of Mississippi, Maryanne Vollers brings to light a host of new facts and insights about the case, weaving a compelling narrative that traces the journey from old South to new.

Last Days of the Dog-Men Last Days of the Dog-Men

Stories by Brad Watson

W. W. Norton & Co. ($19.00, ISBN: 0393039269)

Publication date: April 1996


Frequently portrayed as beer-guzzling, duck-shooting, wife-beating bigots, Southern white men don’t catch much of a break these days. Yet in Last Days of the Dog-Men, Brad Watson manages to portray this much-maligned beast with empathy and insight. Equally important, he also manages to make clear the importance of their dogs—an importance that can cut both ways. In the title story, for example, a man has an affair that's consummated in the foam-rubber pole-vault pad at the local playing field. When his wife finds out, she gets even the surest way she knows how, by having his dog put to sleep.

Watson, in precise and beautiful prose, writes about people and dogs—dogs as companions, as accomplices, and as unwitting victims of human passions—and people responding to dogs as missing parts or reflections of themselves. In each of these stories he captures the animal crannies of the human personality—yearning for freedom and mourning the loss of something wild.

Talking About William Faulkner: Interviews with Jimmy Faulkner and Others

Nonfiction by Jim Faulkner, Floyd Watkins, and Sally Wolff

Southern Literary Studies

Louisiana State University Press ($24.95, ISBN: 0807120308)

Publication date: April 1996


In the 1970s and 1980s, two Emory University professors took students of Southern literature to Lafayette County, Mississippi, to explore the region where William Faulkner lived, with William Faulkner’s nephew serving as guide and story-teller. This volume recreates the details of Faulkner’s life and the era in which he lived through interviews with family and townspeople who knew him. Includes 43 beautiful b&w photographs. Annotation Copyright © Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice “Worse Than Slavery”: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice

Nonfiction by David M. Oshinsky

Free Press ($25.00, ISBN: 0684822989)

Publication date: April 1996

Brief Review:

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University: A book of both scholarly distinction and impassioned social commentary, Worse Than Slavery takes us on a fascinating journey into the world of criminal justice in the era of racial segregation. The system of convict leasing and prison farms, Oshinsky remind us, was a home-grown gulag sanctioned by public authorities, social scientists, and self-proclaimed advocates of racial purity. At a time when imprisonment has become the favored solution to all sorts of social problems, Americans can ignore Oshinsky’s history of Parchman Farm only at their peril.

Edward L. Ayers: Oshinsky’s book goes to the heart of America's struggles with race, crime, and punishment. By showing how Parchman Penitentiary changed and did not change from the Old South until today, Oshinsky provides an unprecedented depth and perspective on these problems. He tells his story sparely and eloquently, without sentimentality, in the words of the people swept up in the sadness and terror of Parchman.

More Conversations with Eudora Welty

Interviews with Eudora Welty, Edited by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0878058656)

Publication date: April 1996

The Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales The Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales

By Elizabeth Spencer

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $42.50, ISBN: 0878058362

Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0878058370)

Publication date: April 1996


Spencer, a native-born Mississippian, offers six fascinating tales in which Southerners surrender to the mesmerizing spell of Italy. Here in one volume are tales with plots so alluring and enigmatic that Boccaccio would have been charmed by their delightful ironies and their sinister contrasts of dark and light.

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